Strudel aux pommes

Apple strudel

This is a quick and easy version of apple strudel that uses filo dough for the pastry. You can find fresh filo in Greek shops or gourmet groceries, and frozen filo is available in many supermarkets. As you will not need an entire pack, you can use the remainder for other recipes — for example, goat cheese pastries with rosemary and honey.

Any variety of apples will do, although I’d avoid red delicious, which tend to be mealy. Optional additions include walnuts and/or black currants.

This recipe takes about 30 minutes, including the baking time. It will serve 3-4. For a larger crowd, double the recipe, but make two smaller strudels rather than a large one, as the smaller ones hold together better.

2 apples
3 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup walnut pieces (optional)
1/4 cup black currants (optional)

2 tbsp. butter
4 sheets filo pastry
1 tsp. powdered sugar (icing sugar; sucre glace)

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 (350 F, 180 C).

Quarter the apples. Remove the peels and cores. Cut each quarter in half lengthwise, then into small pieces crosswise, about 1/4 inch (6 mm) wide.

Place the apples pieces in a bowl. Add the sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Stir to mix.

If using walnuts and/or currants, add them now and stir again.

Place the butter in a small pot and melt over a low flame.

Using a pastry brush, coat a baking sheet or a large cake or pie tin with melted butter.

Now unroll the filo. Working quickly, place one rectangular sheet of filo on a clean counter or a large board. Brush with butter, covering the entire surface. Place the next sheet on top and brush with butter. Repeat with the next two sheets.

Take a pause to roll up the unused filo. Close up tightly and refrigerate for another use.

You are now ready to assemble the strudel. Place your filo so that the longer side of the rectangle is horizontal. Turn the apples onto the filo and form them into a vertical mound about 3 inches (7 cm) wide at the right-hand side of the dough. Leave a 2-inch (5-cm) border along the edges. The left-hand part of the dough should stay empty.

Fold the horizontal edges inward. Brush with butter. Fold the right-hand edge inward over the apples. Brush with butter. Now fold the empty left-hand side of the filo all the way over the apples. Roll up tightly. Brush the roll with butter on all sides.

Using a sharp knife, cut three diagonal slits into the top of the roll. This will allow steam to escape and prevent the pastry from bursting open.

Place the roll on your baking sheet or tin, seam side down. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the strudel is golden brown and the apples are bubbling.

Allow to cool slightly. Use the back of a spoon to push the powdered sugar through a sieve over the strudel. Serve warm. Serves 3-4.

Note: Apple strudel is often served in France with crème fraîche alongside. If you’d like to try it with cream but don’t have access to crème fraîche, pour a little heavy cream over the golden pastry, or substitute Greek yogurt.

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